Til the Livin' End


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Til the Livin' End Review

by Eduardo Rivadavia

Propelled by a frantic speed-streak not seen this side of Texas' Speedealer, Seattle's Zeke straddle that fine line between hardcore and speed metal on their sixth album -- and first since getting back together as a slimmed-down trio -- Til the Livin' End. Produced by alternative rock guru Jack Endino, the album's "15 tracks in 30 minutes" approach kind of says it all about both the band and their music; but before you automatically envision the Ramones (they're here as well, but mostly in spirit), think Motörhead gone hardcore, since tracks like "Long Train Runnin'," "Hold Tight," and the very "Metropolis"-ish "Dragonfly" all recall the immortal Lemmy and his charges. The agonized howl of singer/guitarist Blind Marky Felchtone is partly to blame there, but really, no complaints. And frankly, who knows if Motörhead ever achieved the shocking velocity of Zeke's "The Hammer." Other than that, it's rather remarkable to hear Felchtone effortlessly driving the Zeke bullet train -- rounded out by the so-tight-it's-stoopid rhythm section of bassist Diamond Jeff Matz and drummer Donny Paycheck -- while holding down this considerable workload with nary a bum note in sight. And thankfully, just when both their speaker cabinets and most listeners' intensity thresholds are approaching an utter and complete melting point, Zeke ease off the throttle just a smidgeon on the likes of "Little Queen," the oddly named "Dolphin Wolf," and the closing tandem of "Ride to Live" and "Ever Onward" (which may sound like the title to a Manowar track -- but it ain't!). In summary, Til the Livin' End sounds like a concerted statement of an album, and if it was intended to announce Zeke's official comeback, it did so with authority.

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